IIT-Bombay Startups Develop Alcohol-Free Sterilizer Spray to Keep Viruses and Bacteria Away

IIT-Bombay Startups Develop Alcohol-Free Sterilizer Spray to Keep Viruses and Bacteria Away

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in the sales of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and surface disinfectant sprays that can be bought in abundance today via online marketplaces. However, two startups under the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT) have come up with a viable replacement for alcohol-based sanitizers in the form of an alcohol-free sterilizer that can disinfect surfaces and provide protection against viruses and bacteria for a period of 10 days.  

Known as “Avran”, this product is powered by nanotechnology, the researchers said. It was unveiled on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day on Saturday. This product was developed jointly by the startup Navork Innovations Private Ltd and Abstract Ideas. Navork specializes in nanotechnology, textile, chemicals, as well as material science whereas Abstract Ideas is a startup in the field of design and aesthetics. 

It is said that this product will be available in a spray form while it has been reportedly tested and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

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These two startups joined forces following the COVID-19 outbreak in the country and were mentored by the Society of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE). The product (Avran) has also been selected by the Department of Science and Technology under an initiative known as the Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH).

“We have received a Rs 1-crore grant from CAWACH for developing and marketing the product. Our first batch of sterilisers were dispatched on Monday,” said Diptesh Mukherjee who is the co-founder of Abstract Ideas and also an IIT-Bombay alumnus.

Diving deeper into the technology used here, it is said that the spray forms five layers of protection consisting of nanoparticle coating, antiviral and antibacterial film, positively-charged molecular chains, and natural lemon and coconut extracts. It will also consist of nitrogen and halogen-based organic compounds known as halamines. 

It is said that IIM-Calcutta’s Agastya Bouyant was also part of the product development process. Agastya Bouyant produces inflatable objects for cleaning water surfaces including oceans and rivers.

A patent for the product was reportedly applied a few months ago, and the makers say that the product will be available for purchase via online portals starting in September. As for the pricing, a 250-ml spray bottle will cost ₹240 while a 500-ml bottle will be priced at ₹360. Customers can also purchase the Avran sterilizer in a 5-litre jar which will cost ₹1,750.

Co-founder of Navork, Abhishek Sahgal said - “Our product can kill 99.999% virus and bacteria in five minutes only. The surface will remain bacteria and virus-free for 10 days.”

“The demand for the product is almost 10 times that we had estimated. Around 40 per cent of our customers are distributors of medical supplies, 30 per cent are companies established in the industry and the rest (30 per cent) are the general public,” he added.

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